Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Plants Of The Garden

Here you will find images and descriptions of the plants of the Bible Garden, please use the left menu to navigate and view the plants of the Bible Garden

A

Almond - prunus dulcis

Genesis 43:11, Numbers 17:7

The almond and hazel are mentioned together in a curious story of Jacob tending Laban's flocks. The almond blossom was a motif in the design of the Menorah. A piece of almond was Aaron's rod that budded. God showed a rod of almond to the young Jeremiah; by changing the vowel in the Hebrew word for almond, it came to mean "I watch over my word to perform it," thus emphasising that God would see that His word came to pass.

Anemone (Lily of the Field) - anemone coronaria

Matthew 6:28-30

These are wild field flowers in Palestine and almost certainly the wild anemones that were referred to by Jesus as the lilies of the field in His sermon on the mount, as they still grow wild near the Lake of Galilee.

Anise or Dill - anethum graveolens

Matthew 23:23

Dill is the plant called "anise" in the New Testament that the Pharisees chose to tithe rather than to attend to the more important matters of judgment and the love of God.

Apricot - prunus armeniaca

Genesis 2:9

The apricot tree has been planted for the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tradition that this tree in the Bible story was an apple has arisen because the word in the Hebrew and Greek originally meant any round palatable fruit, later on this same word became specialised to mean apple only. The apple did not grow in ancient Palestine and the apricot is still known as "the apple of gold" in the East.

B

Bay Tree or Laurel - laurus nobilis

Isaiah 44:9a,14

It was with wreaths of the fragrant leaves of the bay tree or laurel that the ancient Greeks and Romans adorned their priests, poets, heroes and victors in the games. Its leaves still have culinary use and various parts of the tree have been employed in medicine.

Bean - phaseolus vulgaris

Samuel 17:28

Broad beans remind us of hospitality. "When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi ... brought ... beans and lentils .. for David and the people with him to eat for they said, 'The troops are hungry..." The ingredients of pulse on which the young Daniel and his companions thrived most probably included lentils, peas and beans, and it proved to be a more health giving diet than the rich foods of the court of Babylon.

Boxwood - buxus sempervirens for buxus longifolia

Isaiah 41:19, 60:13

The Bible mentions the Box Tree of Lebanon and those imported from the islands of the Mediterranean. The city of Tyre's ships had seats of boxwood inlaid with ivory. Also "On the day when God saves us... 'I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together.'"

C

Carob - ceratonia siligua

Luke 15:16

The round leaved tree is a carob bean or locust bean, also sometimes known as St. John's Bread. It produces bean like pods that contain a sweet white pith around the seeds. It is certainly the source of the husks in the parable of the Prodigal Son. There is some doubt as to whether John the Baptist ate the fruit of this tree or the locust insects, which are eaten roasted in Palestine.
The Hebrew words for carob and locust were similar and may have been transposed.

Cedar of Lebanon - cedrus libani

Numbers 24:6

The Cedar of Lebanon growing in its native conditions can reach a height of about one hundred and twenty feet and the top becomes more spreading as the tree grows older. It was the noblest and largest tree known in Israel, and there are numerous Bible references to it. Solomon lined the inside walls of the Temple with boards of cedar.

Coriander - coriandrum sativum

Exodus 16:31, Numbers 11:7

God fed the people in the wilderness with manna, a source of which was perhaps a lichen growing on rocks, which was small and round "like coriander seed." Coriander is an annual herb.

Crocus or Meadow Saffron - colchicum autumnale

Isaiah 35:1

The crocus which was the source of saffron, used as a dye and as a condiment. The saffron flower has a bright orange stigma from which the saffron was obtained. Saffron was present in the Garden of Solomon.

Cucumber - cucumis sativus

Numbers 11:5, Isaiah 1:8

During the exodus some people complained about the luxuries they lost in following God... "We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt... the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, & the garlic...but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at."

Cumin - cuminum cyminum

Isaiah 28:25, Matthew 23:23

The Pharisees tithed cumin, but neglected the more important matters of judgment and the love of God. Also leaders are not to be too overbearing... "Do those who plow for sowing plow continually?... When they have leveled its surface, do they not scatter dill, sow cumin..."

Cyclamen - cyclamen hederifolium

Luke 12:27

Cyclamen are closely related to species native to the Holy Land. "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these."

D-H

Date palm - phoenix canariensis for phoenix dactyifera

John 12:12-13

The palm of the Scriptures is the date palm. Dates have always been an important food and the date palm is referred to many times in the Bible. "The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord - the King of Israel!'"

Endive - indiva riccia

John 12:12-13

The palm of the Scriptures is the date palm. Dates have always been an important food and the date palm is referred to many times in the Bible. "The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord - the King of Israel!'"

Flax - linum usitatissimum

Isaiah 19:9, John 19:40

Flax was woven into linen cloth, including that used as Jesus burial cloth. "They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews." Also the"smoking flax" refers to tow or waste flax used as lampwicks.

Garlic - allium sativum

Numbers 11:5

During the exodus some complained about the luxuries they lost in following God... "We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt... the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, & the garlic...but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at."

Grape Vine - vitius vinifera

Genesis 9:20, John 15:1-6

Jesus said, "I am the True Vine..." He used familiar everyday things for His parables, and a grape vine was quite likely within sight when He first spoke these words. In winter the branches lose their leaves and the vine has to be pruned if it is to flourish again and bear fruit well. As the cut-off branches are fruitless, useless and dead away from the parent plant, so are Christians who are not abiding in Jesus Christ and thus sharing in His life.

Holly Oak or Holm - quercus ilex

Daniel 13:58, Isaiah 44:14

Absalom, David's son who rebelled against him was killed when caught by the hair in the branches of a Holly Oak.

Horsemint - mentha sylvestris

Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42

The Pharisees tithed horsemint when they tithed mint, rue and all kinds of herbs, but neglected the more important matters of judgment and the love of God.

Hyacinth - hyacinthus orientalis

Song 6:2-3

The oriental hyacinth may be referred to as lily in the Song of Songs in the description of Solomon's Garden. Wild species are very fragrant and cover the hillsides in Israel in spring with blue.

I-N

Juniper - juniperus virginiana for juniperus drupacea

Lev 14:4,6 Numbers 19:6

The Judean broom is believed to be the plant usually called "juniper" in the Bible, such as the juniper tree under which the prophet Elijah rested after his tremendous and successful contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.

Leek - allium porrum

Numbers 11:5

During the exodus some complained about the luxuries they lost in following God... We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt... the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, & the garlic...but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at."

Lemon (for Citron) - citrus limon for citrus medica

Leviticus 23:40

The valuable health giving properties of citrus fruit were appreciated in very ancient times, in the citron or etrog tree, which is the "goodly fruit" mentioned in Leviticus. First fruits of this tree were offered in thanksgiving to God, as well as first fruits of the grain harvests. The citron fruit is like a large lemon, somewhat elongated, and a sweeter taste.

Lentils - lens culinaris

Genesis 25:34

Lentils were the main ingredient of the pottage which Jacob had cooked and Cain desired to eat after he came in from hunting. The pulse on which the young Daniel and his companions thrived was vegetable, probably lentils, peas and beans were important constituents of it, and this proved to be a more health giving diet than the rich foods of the court of Babylon.

Lettuce - lactuca sativa

Exodus 12:8

Lettuce was probably one of the "bitter herbs" eaten with the Passover lamb. Leaves of lettuce that are allowed to grow unblanched develop a bitter taste.

Lupin - lupinus species

James 1:9-10

Lupins are wild flowers in Israel. The passing flowers remind us of our mortality, and the passing nature of all power and wealth. "Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field."

Madonna Lily - lilium candidum

Song of Songs 2:1-2

The Madonna Lily traditionally has been associated with the Virgin Mary, mother of our Lord, and is a symbol of purity. In earlier times it was much more plentiful than now in sheltered spots in Galilee. It was introduced into Europe during the time of the Crusades and was very widely cultivated.

Mint - mentha sativum

Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42

Mint reminds us of Jesus reproving words to the Pharisees that they tithed mint, and rue and all kinds of herbs, but neglected the more important matters of judgment and the love of God.

Mustard - brassica juncea

Matthew 13:31-33, 17:20

Jesus in one of His parables referred to mustard. At the same time He spoke of the mustard seed of the plant brassica nigra, which is very common in the Holy Land and throughout Europe and in favourable conditions this plant will grow into the large shrub in which small birds could build their nests, of which He spoke.

Myrtle - myrtus communis

Nehemiah 8:15 Zechariah 1:8,10,11

A glorious future was foretold for Israel and it was Zechariah who saw the Horsemen among the myrtles. One of the four plants Jews use for Feast of Tabernacles ... "Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written."

Narcissus or Jonquil - narcissus tazetta

Matthew 6:30

Narcissus tazetta is thought to be the plant referred to in "the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." The leaves come up and flowers appear in early spring. It is an Israeli wild flower, like a jonquil, with cream petals and lemon centre cup, sweetly fragrant.

Nettle - acanthus mollis for acanthus syriacus

Job 30

The acanthus is believed by some scholars to be the plant called nettles in some places in the Bible. At any rate, the acanthus plant is the origin of the leaf design used by the Greeks in the capitals of Corinthian columns.

O-P

Oats - avena sativa

Genesis 1:11-12

Modern food grains of wheat, barley and others have been developed from what were originally wild grasses.

Oleander or Rose Laurel - nerium oleander

Ecclus 24:18, 39:17

In the Bible oleander is called a rose. In olden times the words for roses and lilies were used in a loose way to indicate any beautiful flowers of these types. The oleander is very abundant around Jericho, where it is doubtful whether roses ever flourished except in gardens, although seven different species of the genus Rosa grow in Palestine.

Olive - olea europaea

Genesis 8:11

When the waters of the Great Flood began to subside, Noah sent out a dove from the ark, which came back to him that evening holding an olive leaf in her beak. This is the first mention of this tree in the Bible, but there are many others highlighting its uses for cosmetics and cleansing, fuel for lamps, but above all Olive Oil was used for disinfecting, cleansing and healing wounds by the Good Samaritan.

Pea - pisus sativum

Samuel 17:28

Peas were an ingredient of the pottage which Jacob had cooked and Cain desired to eat after he came in from hunting. The pulse on which the young Daniel and his companions thrived was vegetable; probably lentils, peas and beans were important constituents of it, and this proved to be a more health giving diet than the rich foods of the court of Babylon.

Pennyroyal - mentha pulegium

Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42

Pennyroyal was a mint that the Pharisees tithed when they neglected the more important matters of judgment and the love of God.

Peppermint - mentha piperita

Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42

Mint reminds us of Jesus reproving words to the Pharisees that they tithed mint, and rue and all kinds of herbs, but neglected the more important matters of judgment and the love of God.

Pistachio - pistacia vera

Genesis 43:11

The pistachio and the almond were nuts included in the present that Jacob's sons brought to Pharaoh when there was a drought in their land of Canaan and they desired to buy corn from Egypt.

Pomegranate - pomegranate granatum

Exodus 29:34

The pomegranate was one of the pleasant fruits of Egypt, one of the promised blessings of the new land, and is referred to many times in the Old Testament. Fruit of the pomegranate was a decorative motif on the priests robe and in the Temple.

Poppy - papaver somniferum

Isaiah 40:6

The Oriental Poppy was the source of the gall which was offered to Jesus when He was being crucified. The juice of this plant was a sleep-inducing narcotic. Its flowers are pale lavender, with a deep purple centre. It appears that other references in the Scriptures to "gall" are to other bitter or poisonous plants such as hemlock and others.

R-Z

Ranunculus - ranunculus species

Matthew 6:28-30, Luke 12:27

Ranunculus are wild field flowers in Palestine and almost certainly were
referred to by Jesus as the lilies of the field in His sermon on the mount,
as they still grow wild there near the Lake of Galilee and generally throughout
the land.

Rock-rose - cistus salviifolius

Genesis 37:25, 43:11

A species of the rock rose was the source of laudanum gum, one of the ingredients of the incense myrrh. It grows on rocky hillsides of the Holy Land, and it is said that the laudanum was first found attached to the beards of goats that had been cropping the plant in the heat of the day, at which time the gum comes out in certain seasons of the year.

Shittah Tree - acacia mearnsii for acacia seyal

Isaiah 41

The acacia tree is the same as the Shittah tree, the source of the shittim
wood with which Moses was commanded to make the sacred box in which the tables
of the law were kept, known as the Ark of the Covenant.

Spearmint - mentha spicata

Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42

Mint reminds us of Jesus reproving words to the Pharisees that they tithed mint, and rue and all kinds of herbs, but neglected the more important matters of judgment and the love of God.

Stone Pine - pinus picea

Isaiah 41:19, 60:13

The pine tree is of a kind native to Israel. Trees designated as "firs" and "thick trees" cannot now be certainly identified with particular species.

Wormwood - artemisia absinthium

Proverbs 5:4, Revelation 8:11

In the Bible wormwood is associated with misery and anguish. "I am feeding this people with wormwood, and giving them poisonous water to drink and "the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood... "